A very rare and unusual dance card holder and interior dance card from the first half of 19th century. This item is unusual because of the material and decoration. We have been retailing antique accessories for over 20 years, and can hand on heart say we have never seen a similar example.

This extremely rare example came with another identical pincushion example, each sold individually. Each piece comes with fantastic provenance, from the collective sale of a deceased English sewing tool collector and retailer of over 40 years who was well known and respected in the antique sewing tool world, she will be sadly missed.

The book form dance card holder has cut steel or polished iron covers which is expertly prepared and etched. The shine is almost mirror like. The intaglio/cut away sections then buttery gilded to create the most wonderful effect. To the front we see a rural scene of a church or monastery among trees. To the back cover we see a scene of stylised roses. To create this work of art must have been a very longwinded and intricate process upon the metal plate. The nearest process that we can match this too is the decorative etched process called Niello, perfected in Tula, Russia. Also the Tula Factory just outside Moscow was the centre for armour production during the reign of Peter the Great, master craftsman would produce exquisitely engraved arms and armour. Later in the 18th century the same manufacturers expanded their arms production to include domestic wares. Suffice to say that the scene in the centre is definitely Eastern European, Russian, Baltic etc with style of churches which would fit in with our theory.

This dance card holder has retained its original pencil and holder securer. Remove the pencil to reveal the removable 1840s paper dance book to the pink silk lined interior. This tiny pink silk covered book is a delight with its gilded edges and illustrated dance plates. Inside are named dances/quadrilles with room for writing ones partner for each. The dances are Sicillienne, Rodoma Contredanse, Mazurka, Schotich, Valse, Polka, Galop. Also blank pages to the front and rear for notes. The publisher's details are to the front page " À Paris, chez l'Edi'r, R, Phelipeaux, 26. This address was used by publishers certainly in the year 1842 and most likely before.

Size: When closed 2 inch by 1 3/8" inch (4.8 cm by 3.5 cm)

Condition: Good with just a few areas of verdigris/oxidization to the metal and dulling to the gilding.

A supremely rare example to add to your antique carnet de bal collection. When will you see another? Deliciously perfect for a special French fashion doll or trunk

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Gold, Silver
19th Century

Trinity Antiques

Rarest Early 19th Century Carnet De Bal, Dance Card Holder, Cut Steel and Gilt, Niello, Tula Ware C 1840


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    Unique, quality antiques direct from The Cotswolds, England for sustainable home interiors.
    Curated with love. Celebrating 11 wonderful years on Ruby Lane and Platinum shop status.


    since 2011

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    Trinity Antiques

    Victoria Clark
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    The Cotswolds , England , UK This Shop is rated Platinum - 1,000 or more sales Platinumsince 2011

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